Although Malaysian outbound travel spend is poised to grow faster than the regional average, industry players expect price-conscious travel patterns to continue shaping choice of destinations in the near future.
Taking an average of 1.8 trips annually, the average spending per travelling Malaysian household is expected to grow from US$3,100 in 2015 to US$4,400 in 2026.
This translates to a 3.6 per cent compound annual growth rate (CAGR), higher than the estimated CAGR of Asia-Pacific of 0.8 per cent over the same time period, shared Vivek Neb, managing director at Grail Insights, during a keynote during the recent Travel Meet Malaysia organised by Messe Berlin in Kuala Lumpur.
In 2016, 46.1 per cent of outbound trips were made by Malaysians earning more than US$30,000 annually, which accounted for 24.4 of total households, said Vivek. Millennials and Gen Z together accounted for 60 per cent of the Malaysian population who travel to get new experiences.
At the same time, Vivek pointed out that a majority of Malaysians are conscious about prices while making bookings, which affects the choice of their destination.
He said preference was to travel within South-east Asia due to time constraints and affordability. Word-of-mouth and online peer reviews are the most influential sources of information at the planning phase for Malaysian travellers. Vivek added that Malaysians tend to decide on activities while in destination.
Greyfurt Tour Europe executive manager, Hasan Turk, agreed that Malaysian outbound travellers had become more price conscious over the last few years due to the weakened ringgit.
He has seen demand for tours to Turkey and the Balkans growing year-on-year due to the greater affordability when compared to destinations such as Amsterdam and Zurich.
Foo Sze Zhaun, business development manager, Corporate Information Travel, said outbound ticketing to the US picked up this year, driven by promotions by Philippine Airlines and Chinese carriers offering airfares as low as RM2,500 (US$605).
Europanumdo Vacations, regional head for Asia Pacific, Steven Pearson, further observed the growing preference for off-the-beaten-track destinations among seasoned Malaysian outbound travellers to Europe. At Europanumdo, Moscow – Kazan coach tours were growing in popularity among Malaysians.